Put That Bird On The Camera

My friend Steele sent me a link about an amazing parrot and its ability to form coherent, adaptive speech. Truly an incredible display of avian intelligence.

I wasn’t a huge bird fan until I met my friend Kaye’s female Eclectus parrot Sadie. Birds intrigued me, and I knew that not only did they mimic, but also used human speech. Sadie showed me that some bird species really do crave human companionship, and will adapt handily to life with humans. Perhaps more so than cats or dogs.

So now I own Oz (or Squeeps), a little cockatiel that has me wrapped around his finger. And sure enough, he’s grown to enjoy and crave my company as much as I enjoy his.

So today Steele sent me a link to this article. Seems N’kisi, an African grey, has mastered more English than 72.6% of all current hip-hop artists!


The bird, a captive African grey called N’kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.

He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope – just as a human child would do.

N’kisi is believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.

About 100 words are needed for half of all reading in English, so if N’kisi could read he would be able to cope with a wide range of material.

He uses words in context, with past, present and future tenses, and is often inventive.

One N’kisi-ism was “flied” for “flew”, and another “pretty smell medicine” to describe the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, an artist based in New York.

When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N’kisi said: “Got a chimp?”

He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: “You got to put this bird on the camera.”

Seriously, this is impressive stuff. “You got to put that bird on the camera!”

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